With 2017 drawing to a close it will soon be a time to review how this year has gone and how you can improve and drive your business forward in 2018. Reflection is always a good activity to partake in as we head into December because the only way you can strive for further success is to accept what didn’t work, focus on areas that have worked immensely for you and to compare your figures to previous years.
This can go either way but you shouldn’t let a poor year leave you disheartened. Sometimes we take risks that simply do not work out but until you take that leap, you will never know. Staying safe in business can lead to your company becoming stagnant and even though not all chances will pay off, you may be pleasantly surprised at what can work for you. Things can always be turned around but this can only happen with an open mind, with set plans in place and with sheer determination!
Create A New Business Plan
Once you have reflected on what went well and what didn’t from 2017, you can sit down and make a brand new business plan that will drive your business forward. Your targets must be realistic, not pie in the sky, you will also want the correct resources in place in order to hit them. For example, will you be investing time into staff training or purchasing new office equipment or do the work vans need upgrading? All of these aspects need to be considered as they will make up part of your plan.
A great business plan will map out what you want to achieve each week/month, how you intend on achieving these, what actions need to happen asap or which can wait a few months and who will help you to fulfill your aspirations. Do not be afraid of detail, of bullet points, of making lists upon lists- these can always be edited. It is important to brainstorm and get your ideas out and down and then to make action plans for the most important areas. If you are unsure where to start with a plan or if it is all new to you, you can download a free business plan from The Prince’s Trust Website.
Manage Your Cash Flow
Cash flow will fall into your business plan but it is very important to be able to have a healthy grasp of all of your figures for your company. We covered all of these topics in our investment deck series which should help you to understand what is required of you as a business owner. Having good knowledge of what is flowing in and out of your bank account will benefit you if you ever need to apply for a bank loan or appeal to an investor.
Review Your Customer Feedback
This is vital information at your fingertips. If you have a feedback form have a good read through them, if you have a star rating system in place on your website take a look at how your company averaged for the year. Your customers know what they want and can provide you with honest, constructive feedback. This all needs to be taken into consideration when making your business plan. Do not overlook what they say, even if some of it stings a little! It can be turned on it’s head and used to drive your business forward.
If you don’t have feedback or reviews in place why not try reaching out to previous customers and ask them for some honest feedback for the service or product you provided? Talking it through can help you further understand where improvements need to be made.
Review Your Website
Is a new year the time for a new look? Is your website and branding looking a little tired now? Why not have a fresh set of eyes look over it all for you and see if an overhaul would be worthwhile in driving more traffic to your site? Areas to focus on are:
- How easy is your site to navigate?
- How quickly does each page upload?
- Does it draw you in as a customer?
- Does it showcase what you have to offer?
- Does your logo fit in with your ethos?
- Is it worthy of 2018 or is it more 2005?
Your overall look, feel and logo should also flow across every social media site. It is about creating one unique look that makes your business recognisable to your customer.
Plan To Be Seen
How visible was your company in 2017? How high up do you rank on Google? How can you improve in 2018?
Times have changed and social media, the internet, blogging, vlogging and online presentations are all tools that need to be utilised in order to make your business be ‘seen.’ You don’t need to be spending your valuable time on leaflet dropping, coming up with marketing master plans or cold calling when there are plenty of free marketing options at your fingertips. It is about being organised, clever and working smarter and not harder. Schedule your social media posts, hire a freelance writer to create hard-hitting blogs that will drive traffic to your website, create videos that will attract attention on YouTube and create outstanding online presentations that can be shared, publicly viewed and individually tailored. The options go on and on, it’s just a matter of working out what will work the best for you and your company and how you will showcase yourself.
Good luck in the new year and we hope Presbee can fulfill all of your presentation needs.